HEALTH ALERT – Pennsylvania SWINE FLU (H3N2) cases linked to Washington County Fair; HEALTH ALERT – California’s Los Angeles County officials calling WEST NILE VIRUS near-epidemic; Colorado warns pet owners of BUBONIC PLAGUE in PRAIRIE DOG dens; North Carolina child’s death likely caused by LACROSSE ENCEPHALITIS; CDC reports Wisconsin man died of RABIES last year; USFWS agents in Wyoming kill 6 WOLVES; RABIES reports from NM, NY, NC,OH, & WV; and WEST NILE VIRUS reports from PA, & VT. Canada: Quebec to distribute oral RABIES vaccine bait in Montreal parks. CDC ZOONOTIC DISEASE SUMMARY for week ending August 20, 2011. Follow-Up Reports: UN says mutant strain of BIRD FLU (H5N1) not likely to threaten human health; and Colorado wildlife officers kill 7 COYOTES in Broomfield.

PD Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pennsylvania 09/05/11 News Release – The Pennsylvania departments of Health and Agriculture today announced three cases of a novel influenza A virus have been identified, and are now linked to an agricultural fair in southwestern Pennsylvania. The first individual to become ill, announced on Friday, Sept. 2, has fully recovered from the illness. Two other individuals, confirmed ill over the weekend, are recovering. All three are children who reported attending the Washington County Agricultural Fair the week of Aug. 13-20, 2011.

The cases in Pennsylvania are similar to previous, rare human infections withswine-origin H3N2 viruses, but are unique in that they contain a genetic component of the H1N1 virus. A continuing investigation, which is being jointly undertaken by the departments of Health and Agriculture, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has not yet uncovered how the illness was transmitted to the three individuals. However, no additional human infections with this virus have been identified to date.

Anyone who attended the Washington County Fair and has flu-like symptoms should contact their local health care provider or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH. Symptoms would be similar to that of seasonal influenza, and would include fever, lethargy (extreme tiredness), lack of appetite and coughing. Other influenza symptoms may include a runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The Department of Health and the CDC are conducting increased surveillance and tracking in southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as setting up informational booths about influenza at agricultural fairs, while Department of Agriculture is continuing with monitoring the health of animals at all exhibitions.

Livestock Judging Team at a county fair.

The Department of Health continues to urge the public to take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, while the Department of Agriculture reminds residents to remember to wash your hands after coming into contact with animals at fairs and in other public venues. “We’re not telling people to avoid public venues or fairs,” said Pennsylvania DOH Secretary Dr. Eli Avila. “But, until we complete our investigation, we want to make sure that the public is aware and is taking the proper precautions to protect their health.”

Everyday preventative actions against influenza include:

  •  · Coughing or sneezing into a tissue, your sleeve or elbow (not your hands);
  • · Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
  • especially after you cough or sneeze, or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner;
  • · Keeping your hands away from your face – don’t touch your mouth, hands or eyes;
  • · Keeping frequently used surfaces clean; and
  • · Staying home from work, school, and social gatherings if you have flu-like
  • and feverish symptoms to help prevent others from catching your illness.

For more information, visit or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

California 09/04/11 Studio City – Three birds found dead have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the area for the first time in two years, and three more infected birds were discovered nearby. The birds discovered dead in the area over the past week, the first area sighting in two years, along with three more in Sherman Oaks, add to levels of infection that the Los Angeles County Vector Control District is calling near-epidemic. Officials credit this summer’s high temperatures with the increase of infections, expecting levels of infection to stabilize once the weather cools. Earlier in August, three of 31 mosquito samples from the Studio City area tested positive for the disease. Two dead birds testing positive were found in Chatsworth, along with one in Northridge, Canoga Park, Sun Valley, West Hills and Van Nuys. This year’s sightings in Chatsworth, Canyon Country, and Sun Valley, were the first ever in the areas. In 2010, more dead birds with the virus tested positive in Northridge, and in 2009, the most infections were found Van Nuys and Valley Village.

Colorado 09/04/11 The Tri-County Health Department continued warnings Saturday for pet owners in Westminster after bubonic plague wiped out entire prairie dog colonies along Big Dry Creek in the past few weeks. The plague is the same kind that killed millions in the 1300s, but health officials say there is little risk to humans. “It’s really low,” said Tri-County’s environmental health director, Tom Butts. “But it’s all based upon whether you get exposed to a flea or not.” Butts says no cases of the plague have been reported in humans from this outbreak. The health department has sprayed prairie dog dens for fleas in the affected areas, and said the risk is much lower to pets and humans now than within the past two weeks before the pesticide application. Fleas carry the plague between animals and humans. The affected open space is roughly from West 112th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard to West 120th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. Signs have been posted along the Big Dry Creek Trail, warning people and their pets in the area to stay on the trail.

North Carolina 09/02/11 by Jane E. Allen – An 8-year-old North Carolina girl died this week from encephalitis, after she was bitten by a mosquito likely carrying LaCrosse virus. Her death and the hospitalization of her younger brother are the latest evidence that a wet spring and a hot, wet summer have boosted the insects’ population and power to imperil public health. Health officials on Friday awaited results of lab tests to confirm the underlying cause of the brain inflammation that proved fatal to the Henderson County, N.C., child. The youngster, whose name was being withheld, died Wednesday at Mission Hospital in Asheville, in the mountains of western North Carolina. The LaCrosse virus, which travels from the bloodstream into the brain, can cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting and weakness. It can only be spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be spread from person to person. As of Aug. 30, there were 22 confirmed and probable LaCrosse illnesses reported to the CDC. The CDC tally consisted of four cases from North Carolina, along with others from Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Silverhaired Bat

Wisconsin December 2010 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report September 2, 2011 / 60(34);1164-1166 – In late December 2010, a male resident of Wisconsin, aged 70 years, sought treatment for progressive right shoulder pain, tremors, abnormal behavior, and difficulty swallowing at an emergency department (ED). He was admitted for observation and treated for presumed alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The next day, he had fever, rigidity, and blood tests indicated a breakdown of muscle fibers. A neurological disorder was diagnosed. The patient’s clinical status worsened, with brain damage, respiratory failure, acute renal failure, and episodes of cardiac arrest. With continued clinical deterioration, additional causes were considered, including rabies. But it wasn’t until hospital day 12 that rabies virus antigens were detected and rabies virus in saliva specimens sent to CDC. A rabies virus variant associated with silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) was identified. The patient died on hospital day 13. His spouse reported that they had been selling firewood, and bats had been present in the woodpile; however, the man had not reported a bat bite. Two relatives and five health-care workers potentially exposed to the man’s saliva received post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). This case highlights the variable presentations of rabies and the ease with which a diagnosis of rabies can be missed in a clinically challenging patient. Continued public education regarding risks for rabies virus exposure during interactions with wildlife, particularly bats, is important. For complete report go to

Wyoming 09/03/11 While residents debate Wyoming’s proposed wolf plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has killed six wolves in as many weeks for preying on livestock. An agent for the federal agency responsible for wolf recovery reported three wolves were killed after a cow was found dead July 17 on a public grazing allotment near Togwotee Pass in northwest Wyoming. About a month later, wolves killed three calves and yearling cow on another allotment in the Upper Green River drainage. Federal Fish and Wildlife officials say three wolves were killed in the Upper Green and more may be targeted. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports ( that the agency also has issued a shoot-on-sight permit to a La Barge resident after confirming six horses were injured by wolves there.

New Mexico 09/03/11 The New Mexico Department of Health says one bat from Bernalillo County and another from Dona Ana County have tested positive for rabies. They say the rabid bat in Bernalillo County bit an adult within Albuquerque city limits. That person now is now receiving the series of post-exposure rabies vaccinations. No people or animals are known to have been exposed to the bat that tested positive from Dona Ana County. This year, there have been 10 rabid animals reported in New Mexico, six rabid skunks, one rabid horse and a rabid dog.

New York 09/03/11 A cat found wild in the Town of Wawayanda has been tested and found to have rabies, Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Jean Hudson said late Friday. All known contacts have been treated and the municipality was informed. The public is reminded not to touch wild animals including cats, dead or alive. “Kittens and other young animals are very appealing but rabies is deadly,” Hudson said. She said parents should question their children about any contract with wild kittens or other animals. If you were bitten or scratched by a stray cat or kitten, particularly in the area of Lipper Drive and Ryerson Road in Wawayanda, call the Orange County Health Department at 845-291-2332.

North Carolina 09/03/11 by Gina Childress – A 14-year-old Fike High School freshman is undergoing rabies treatments after being bitten by a fox Tuesday night. Zack Bland, who lives at 5164 Redmond Road, suffered a minor bite wound and some scratches that didn’t require any stitches but is now undergoing treatment because the state lab confirmed Thursday the fox was rabid, said Wilson County Sheriff’s officials. (For complete article go to—Rabid-fox-attacks-teen )

Ohio 09/02/11 The Summit County Combined General Health District, in collaboration with the USDA Division of Wildlife Services, will participate in a multi-county rabies vaccine baiting operation for raccoons. This operation is in response to raccoons testing “positive” for rabies in Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties in northeast Ohio since 2004, breaching the Ohio/Pennsylvania rabies vaccine barrier. The baiting is scheduled to run through Sept. 30, weather permitting, in: Boston Heights; Hudson, north of state Route 303; Macedonia; Northfield Center; Northfield Village; Reminderville; Sagamore Hills; Twinsburg City and Twinsburg Township. The Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area will be baited by aircraft. The aerial rabies baiting operation could last up to 30 days. Communities that surround the park should be aware that pieces of bait may fall outside the park boundaries. For more information, call the Ohio Department of Health rabies information line at 1-888-722-4371 or Terry Tuttle in the Environmental Health Division of the Summit County Health District at 330-926-5630 or 330-923-8856.

West Virginia 09/01/11 In an effort to vaccinate raccoons, an oral rabies vaccine bait will be distributed across Monongalia County beginning in early September, according to a news release from the Monongalia County Health Department. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, will be distributing the oral rabies vaccine to establish an immune barrier to stop the spread of raccoon rabies in West Virginia. The vaccine will be distributed across 32 counties during the month of September. Hand baiting may begin as early as Sept. 1 and continue until completion, and a low-flying plane will begin the aerial distribution Sept. 11. Officials hope to finish the distribution by Oct. 1. Hand baiting in the Morgantown area is scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6. Anyone who comes into direct contact with the bait or vaccine may contact the Monongalia County Health Department at 304-598-5100. For more information regarding the scheduled bait drop, visit the WVDHHR Web site by clicking here.

Pennsylvania 09/04/11 by Mischa Amosky – Biologists from the EPA have been setting mosquito traps in the Abington area over the last few weeks, and this testing has resulted in several positive occurrences of West Nile Virus in Abington Township. West Nile can cause humans to become infected West Nile encephalitis or meningitis, which may result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile encephalitis. As a result, per its press release, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will begin the application of Biomist or Duet via truck and ATV-mounted sprayers on the evenings of Tuesday Sept. 6, and Wednesday, Sept. 7, in portions of Abington and Cheltenham townships to control adult mosquito populations.

Vermont 09/04/11 by Jenna Pizzi – State officials are warning of West Nile virus in Vermont after receiving two reports of infected people in the last few weeks. This is the first time human cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported in the state since 2003. The Vermont Department of Health is currently investigating the case of one Addison County resident who may be infected. Earlier this summer, a Franklin County resident was found to have West Nile virus when donating blood. The blood was discarded. The virus was detected in two mosquito pools in Brandon and Cornwall as well as seven dead birds found in Vernon, Colchester, Essex, Shelburne and Rutland this year.


Quebec 09/04/11 posted by Richard Deschamps – Starting Tuesday, city officials and the Quebec wildlife ministry will embark on a campaign aimed at curbing the incidence of rabies among raccoons and other animals that might turn up in Montreal’s parks. Six Montreal parks will be targeted by the campaign: Mount Royal park, the Anse-a-l’Orme nature park, the Cap St-Jacques nature park, the Bois-de-l’Ile-Bizard nature park, the Bois-de-Liesse nature park, and the Pointe-aux-Prairies nature park. From Tuesday through Friday, professional trappers will be laying down hundreds of traps in the parks where it’s believed there are large populations of raccoons, foxes and skunks. The bait is a sweet-smelling pellet, which looks like a piece of olive-green ravioli, containing an anti-rabies vaccine that the animals will consume. Pierre Canac-Marquis with the wildlife ministry says there are no recent cases of rabid animals to speak of in Montreal, but there have been outside of Montreal, along the American border, and they’re not taking any chances.

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending August 20, 2011:

Published Aug 26, 2011 / 60(33); 1136-1149

Anaplasmosis . . . 18 . . . New Hampshire, New York (16), Ohio,

Babesiosis . . . 42 . . . New York (42),

Brucellosis . . . 2 . . . Florida, Missouri,

Ehrlichiosis . . . 5 . . . New York (3), Tennessee, Virginia,

Giardiasis . . . 191 . . . Arizona, Arkansas (3), California (15), Colorado (7), Florida (27), Georgia (10), Idaho (3), Iowa (7), Maine (3), Maryland (5), Michigan (4), Missouri (12), Montana (2), Nebraska (9), New York (32), Ohio (28), Oregon, Pennsylvania (6), South Carolina, Vermont (5), Virginia (2), Washington (7), Wisconsin,

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 1 . . . Missouri,

Lyme Disease . . .  549 . . . California (2), Delaware (3), Florida (4), Georgia (2), Maine (3), Maryland (14), Michigan (2), Montana, New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (119), New York (215), Pennsylvania (148), Rhode Island (6), Tennessee (2), Vermont, Virginia (25),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 30 . . . Illinois, Maine, Michigan (2), New Hampshire (3), New York (11), Ohio (2), Virginia (10),

Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 4 . . . Georgia (4),

Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 18 . . . Delaware, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma (3), Tennessee (4), Virginia (8),

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Missouri, 

Follow-Up Reports:

Global 09/05/11 (See September 2, 2011: Bird Flu H5N1 Update) A mutant strain of the deadly bird flu H5N1 virus detected in Vietnam does not appear to pose an increased risk to human health, the United Nations said on Monday. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) last week voiced concern about the appearance in Vietnam and China of the strain, warning of “a possible major resurgence” of the virus, which developed into a pandemic in 2009. After Indonesia, Vietnam has recorded the highest number of human deaths from bird flu, with 59 since 2003, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data. “The last human H5N1 cases in Vietnam were reported in April 2010, but none caused by the new strain,” the WHO and FAO said in a joint statement issued in response to questions from AFP. “There is no evidence to suggest yet that this new virus strain will have any increased risk to human health.” Bird flu is currently affecting poultry in four provinces, according to Vietnam’s animal health department. The mutant strain, known as H5N1 –, was first noticed in Vietnam in 2009. It has replaced the previously dominant strain and has been identified in 16 Vietnamese provinces this year, the UN statement said.       (For complete article go to )

Colorado 09/02/11 by Joe Rubino – (See August 18, 2011: Coyote attacks another youngster in Colorado) State wildlife officers killed seven coyotes in the Anthem neighborhood in the past two weeks in response to a string of coyote attacks on children, officials reported. All told, officers have killed nine coyotes in the Anthem area since July, state Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said. After several weeks of trapping and shooting coyotes in Anthem, wildlife officers will stop patrolling the area unless run-ins persist between residents and aggressive coyotes, Churchill said. A coyote bit a 6-year-old boy Aug. 16 while he was walking with his father and younger sister on a trail near Colo. 7 between Lowell Boulevard and Sheridan Parkway, Churchill said. The boy suffered only minor scrapes and a pair of puncture wounds on his buttocks, according to police, but the attack was the third reported instance of coyote aggression toward a child in Anthem since mid-July. “We really feel — looking at all the incidents together, and looking at how these children were aggressively chased by coyotes — there was a public safety issue there,” Churchill said. In a similar incident July 18, a 21/2-year-old boy was walking with his father on a trail in Anthem when a coyote knocked the boy down and bit him on the buttocks and lower-back region. The boy fully recovered after receiving a rabies vaccination, and wildlife officials killed a coyote in the area following the attack. Several weeks after the mid-July attack, Churchill said, wildlife officials were alerted to an incident in the same neighborhood in which a coyote rushed a 4-year-old boy while he played in his front yard. The boy’s mother scared off the coyote before it could harm her son, Churchill said, but wildlife officers killed another coyote following that encounter.


One response to “HEALTH ALERT – Pennsylvania SWINE FLU (H3N2) cases linked to Washington County Fair; HEALTH ALERT – California’s Los Angeles County officials calling WEST NILE VIRUS near-epidemic; Colorado warns pet owners of BUBONIC PLAGUE in PRAIRIE DOG dens; North Carolina child’s death likely caused by LACROSSE ENCEPHALITIS; CDC reports Wisconsin man died of RABIES last year; USFWS agents in Wyoming kill 6 WOLVES; RABIES reports from NM, NY, NC,OH, & WV; and WEST NILE VIRUS reports from PA, & VT. Canada: Quebec to distribute oral RABIES vaccine bait in Montreal parks. CDC ZOONOTIC DISEASE SUMMARY for week ending August 20, 2011. Follow-Up Reports: UN says mutant strain of BIRD FLU (H5N1) not likely to threaten human health; and Colorado wildlife officers kill 7 COYOTES in Broomfield.

  1. Always great information, easy to read and follow. I don’t always have the time to search and read all the news articles, so its great to have it in one place. Thanks Jerry!

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